What You Need to Know About Physician Assistants

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Did you know that when you visit the doctor, you may not always be seeing the physician? Many times, patients see the physician assistant, also known as a PA. Although these individuals are called physician assistants, that does not mean they are not qualified to give medical care. In fact, PAs are respected and trusted medical professionals who act as primary health providers. Read on to learn more about physician assistants and what they can do for you.

PA School Training

Physician Assistants can come from many different backgrounds, including exercise physiologist, nurses, physical therapists, and more. Individuals must have at least a bachelor’s degree to become a PA. Most people go from undergraduate school to PA school. In order to be admitted to PA school, individuals must have a high GPA, prior clinical healthcare hours, and meet a minimum GRE score.

Once admitted to PA school, students are often trained by physicians. The application of teaching is very similar to that of physicians, in that patients experience core rotations in family medicine, emergency medicine, internal medicine, surgery, psychiatry, pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology. However, unlike physicians, PAs obtain core medical sciences during undergraduate years, which allows PA students to concentrate on the “meat and potatoes” of being a provider while in graduate school. The first year of PA school requires students to be full-time, while the second year allows students to begin clinical rotations. Following PA school, individuals must pass the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE).

What Do PAs Do?

PAs diagnose and treat health conditions and prescribe medications. They are trained to take medical histories and conduct physical examinations in both clinic and hospital settings. Additional duties include ordering and interpreting tests, counseling on preventative care, assisting in surgery, and conducting rounds in hospitals and nursing homes.

Overall, PAs are extensively trained and highly qualified to provide all types of medical care. At our office, we have trusted and experienced PAs on our staff! If you are interested in learning about the procedures and treatments offered by Gawley Plastic Surgery, contact our Scottsdale office today to learn more!

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon at

Dr. Gawley is one of the premiere plastic surgeons in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. He specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast, body, and face. Dr. Gawley combines his extensive training and state-of-the-art technology to provide his patients with personalized care and natural results.